27 March, 1916
Somewhere north of Verdun just behind the enemy lines
Adjutant Gaston A. Voscadeaux

Gaston was stealthily approaching the German soldier from behind. The bayonet in his hand at the ready. He could see the steam rising while the Hun was urinating. Suddenly the soldier turned around and Gaston without wasting a moment plunged the bayonet into the man’s throat, just below the Adam’s apple. There was a sound similar to that when a knife pierces an overripe cantaloupe. Soldier’s eyes wide open from the shock accused Gaston of murder. His mouth screwed in a grimace tried to scream, but only managed a gurgling sound. Blood started to pour from his mouth. The man was clawing at Gaston, his movements weaker and weaker and finally going slack altogether. The entire body was now hanging limp on the bayonet. Gaston didn’t want the blood to touch his hand but he couldn’t let go of the weapon. The blood from the wound and the dead soldier’s mouth was now flowing freely onto his arm, soaking his sleeve and dripping down below his elbow. He finally let go. The Hun’s lifeless body dropped to the ground at Voscadeaux’s feet. Gaston pulled the bayonet out of the Hun’s throat. The action was accompanied by a sick slurping sound. He wiped the weapon on the dead man’s clothes and begun to undress the flaccid body. Once that was done, Gaston rolled the stiff underneath the hey stack. The blood on the stained uniform had to be disguised somehow. He rubbed it against the wet ground, making sure red gets covered completely with dirt. He then proceeded to dress himself in the German uniform. It was a little tight, especially in the crotch area. Gaston put on the stahlhelm and picked up the rifle standing propped against the stack. Finally he begun to march. He made five steps and collapsed. He was breathing deeply and then he let it all go. Gaston wept. He just killed in cold blood. The man’s face twisted in agony was hovering inches from his own. Gaston relived the the horror he could see in the dying man’s eyes. He could smell his bad breath. He could feel the tobacco stained fingers clawing at him, trying to free himself. And then it was all over ...
He picked himself up again. His legs were carrying him, but his brain was not guiding him. Gaston needed a moment. He rummaged through the dead soldier’s possessions. There wasn’t much. Ammunition for the rifle, some rations which Gaston consumed immediately, half-empty flask of water and documents. Voscadeaux needed to go south. The Front. Don’t get caught. Survive. He was walking on the side of the road. Trucks and horse drawn carriages were passing him by. A column of enemy soldiers approached. Gaston joined at the back, trying to look like one of them. He started to notice the landscape. Burned out houses, soldiers resting in the ditch by the road, crates with ammunition, an ambulance, more soldiers, crosses, bomb craters filled with rain water, barbed wire. He could smell now. The air tasted of smoke, rotting flesh and death. He could smell the dead soldier on his uniform. He could clearly distinguish the stench of urine mixed with damp earth and the tang of blood. They have reached the reserve trenches. The German column continued to march through the mud of Verdun.

"Take the cylinder out of my kidneys,
The connecting rod out of my brain, my brain,
From out of my arse take the camshaft,
And assemble the engine again."